Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Sailing: Jez Fanstone steps down from Yachting New Zealand high performance role

Jez Fanstone has stepped down from his role as Yachting New Zealand high performance director. Photo/PHOTOSPORT.
Jez Fanstone has stepped down from his role as Yachting New Zealand high performance director. Photo/PHOTOSPORT.

Jez Fanstone has stepped down as Yachting NZ's high performance director following arguably the country's most successful Olympic sailing campaigns.

Yachting NZ chief executive Dave Abercrombie today confirmed to the Herald Fanstone has resigned after eight years at the helm of the high performance team.

"He decided eight years is a long time in one job and he wants to spend more time with his family so he's done it off his own bat. It's his decision, which we respect," he said.

"He'll be missed, but that's the way the world moves really doesn't it?"

Fanstone, the former coach of British Olympic great Ben Ainslie, joined Yachting NZ in 2009 after a disappointing Beijing Olympic campaign, which netted just one medal - albeit gold (Tom Ashley, RS:X).

Under Fanstone New Zealand doubled that medal return in London, with gold in the women's 470 (Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie) and a silver in the 49er (Peter Burling and Blair Tuke), before doubling it again in Rio this year.

Yachting NZ's haul of one gold (Burling and Tuke), two silver (Aleh and Powrie; Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, 49erFX) and a bronze (Sam Meech, Laser) matched their previous best return at the Barcelona Games in 1992.

Abercrombie said while he disappointed to lose Fanstone, his resignation did not come as a surprise.

"I know how demanding the role is, very few high performance directors do a third cycle. It's a pretty tough job," he said.

"His last comment was it's been hard work and he wants to just reconnect with his family and spend more time with them."

Yachting NZ are one of several national sporting organisations, including Cycling New Zealand and Triathlon New Zealand, on the look-out for new talent to lead its high performance programmes, with there typically being a lot of turnover in these roles at this stage in the Olympic cycle.

Abercrombie said his organisation will advertise for a new high performance manager once the structure of the role has been confirmed.

"We need to have a thorough review of where we want to go. It's given us the opportunity to reevaluate our whole high performance programme and I need to sit down with High Performance Sport and our board and have a discussion around what the structure should look like."

- NZ Herald

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